More help needed for Clay Co. Christmas project

PIGGOTT, AR (KAIT) - The Clay County Department of Human Services needs help this holiday season.

The Christmas project they organize provides Christmas gifts to families. The project had 110 families apply for assistance last year and 10 of those families including 17 children were not adopted for help.

They don't want to have to turn away any families this Christmas, but they can't do it alone.

"These kids need help and we need volunteers to help these kids," Erin Gillis, Clay County Department of Human Services, said.

She said it was heartbreaking having to call families last year and tell them they couldn't provide gifts for their kids.

"They feel bad for not being able to provide for their children the way they want to, and we feel bad for not being able to help them," Gillis said.

Volunteers are able to pick a family to adopt. They then buy gifts for the kids and can delivery the gifts to DHS or actually take the presents to the family's home.

Years ago, Capri Payne needed help at Christmas. She said it was a program like DHS that helped her and encouraged her to get involved with social work.

"We weren't going to have a Christmas, and thanks to that entity, not only did we have Christmas presents under the tree, but they also brought us some food and things to go with it," Payne said. "It made a big difference."

Payne said it was a terrible feeling not being able to give her child what he deserved.

"To know that other children are getting things that your child's not, it's heartbreaking," Payne said.

Payne said all it takes is one volunteer to bring happiness to a family in need. "When the people who did that for me showed up, it changed things."

Gillis said kids don't see the parent's struggle, they only see what they don't have.

"They don't understand why other kids at school have iPads and iPhones, and they don't get anything for Christmas," Gillis said.

Payne said by helping a child you may just bring joy to your family, as well.

"The person you give the help to will never forget that, and as the person giving the help, you're not going to forget it either," Payne said. "It will change both of your lives for the better."

Gillis said the deadline to adopt a family is Tuesday, Dec. 23. Those interested in adopting a family can go to the Clay County Department of Human Services office in Piggott. The office is located at 187 N. 2nd Street.

Volunteers can also call the office at (870)598-2282.

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